Monday, January 14, 2013

Should we worry about the Cardinals inactivity this offseason?

Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch recently wrote an article about the Cardinals inactivity and failure to address concerns.  The two biggest concerns that he raises are the shortstop position, namely do we have a backup plan for Rafael Furcal, and starting pitching.

I can understand the concerns regarding Furcal.  His skills are deteriorating and he has not shown the ability to stay healthy for a full season.  The current backup plan appears to be Pete Kozma, who, despite his strong September and postseason, does not have a strong minor league track record and may be better suited as a utility infielder.  The two of them should be able to hold down the position for this season, but the Cardinals still need to find a long-term solution.

As for the starting pitching, I do not see what all the fuss is about.

Sure, the Cardinals lost their de facto ace in Kyle Lohse.  However, Chris Carpenter should be healthy for the entire season and Adam Wainwright will be one year further removed from his Tommy John surgery and therefore that much closer to returning to his 2010 form.

The main questions are whether Jaime Garcia will be healthy and if Lance Lynn has the proper conditioning to hold up for an entire season in the rotation.  But, even if they are not capable of holding on to their rotation spots for the entire season, its not like the Cardinals are lacking in pitching depth.

Joe Kelly filled in admirably while Lynn was going through a rough patch last season and the Cardinals have top prospects Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha all waiting in the wings.

The Cardinals do not need to go out and sign a free agent pitcher.  As long as they continue to develop their young arms (and sign Wainwright to an extension), their rotation should be set for years to come

Remember, this is basically the same team that came within one game of the World Series last year.  Wholesale changes were not necessary.  Given reasonably good health and the minor league depth that the Cardinals have developed, the Cardinals are in good position to contend for the title again.

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